ISKALD - Revelations of Reckoning Day CD
ISKALD are a two piece band from Sortland, Norway who've just released one of the better sounding melodic Black Metal releases this year. Regular Scumfeast Metal review readers are right now screaming "wait a minute, how many melodic Black Metal releases have you reviewed this year"? That's true, usually it's the Ambient stuff, brutally Satanic or Symphonic Black Metal that the scene has been overwhelmed with of late. So this release is definitely a breath of fresh air, albeit a cold one. Simon Larsen takes charge of the guitars, bass, keyboards, and vocals while Aage Krekling handles the drums and vocals. I'm assuming they'll have session musicians while on tour. And hopefully they'll play here in the states sometime in 2009. But with all that aside this release, their second, is a mixture of all things which make me a fan of Black Metal.
All great releases are a sum of their various parts. Revelations of Reckoning Day is a great release because it contains elements of past perfection and improved upon it. Even jaded losers will bend over and kiss their ignorant opinions goodbye once they hear this. ISKALD have taken that icey melodic intensity which IMMORTAL used to have (and hopefully they'll have it back in 09) and placed it into symphonic arrangements which makes this sound epic. Their use of keyboards is minimal most of the time. The guitars, drums and yes bass, that you can actually hear, are center stage. Another key on here is the variety of sound structures being poured out in each and every song. One cut might take you on a furious DISSECTION like attack while the next is reminding you of EMPEROR painting a snow covered Scandinavian landscape. Here's another way of looking at it. Stare at the cover art while this is playing and soon you'll feel an icey cold grip take hold of you. Fight it off as you might but eventually you'll be that figure freezing in the cover art.
All the songs on here are excellent. From start to finish it's an essential release for 2008. The first cut "Ruin of Mankind" opens with a hiss as if it came from some frozen warrior or the North. The song runs at a galloping speed as if to slow down would freeze you over. "A Breath of Apocalypse" is more of an epic sounding number that continues where the opening track's speed leaves off. The guitars and blast beating drums combine to give the impression of a swirling snow storm. The cold harsh vocals leave little to imagine otherwise. The song does break down to a slower marching type pace in the middle. We are talking about the Apocalypse here. "Warriors of the Northern Twilight, Part II" is a lengthy but incredible number which never grows boring as some lesser acts would make it. Like the rest of this release it's an epic adrenaline rush all of the way through. Their Norse warrior ancestors would be proud of this.